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3 Economic Status: Income Satisfaction Level of Households

3 Economic Status: Income Satisfaction Level of Households

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S. Kudo



168



Village total



Sufficient



Group 1



Sufficient

(part-time)



Group 2



Neither

Insufficient

(part-time)



Group 3



Insufficient

(full-time)



Group 4



Others

Group 5

0



10



20



30



40



50



60



70



80



90



100



Percent of respondents



Fig. 9  Income satisfaction



4.4 Social Relationships Among Residents

Social relationships between residents are considered as a key component to

enhance local livelihoods in rural communities. The survey examined the household’s relationships with others by asking to whom they consult with when they

encounter any concerns or problems. In the village total, 41.1 % of households

responded that they consult with their “Relatives” (Fig. 10) and 20.7 % with their

“Out-migrated children”. These two options essentially relate to family members,

and consist more than 60 % of the total responses. It is worth noting that in contrast 23.1 % of households answered “None”, meaning they do not consult with

anyone. The shares of households who said they consult with their “Neighbors”,

“Town hall”, and “Care workers” were all less than 5 %. In Group 1, the most

common answer was “None” at 43.5 %, which was the highest among all community groups. In Group 2–5, about 20 % of households chose the “None” answer,

while 37–53 % of households in Group 2–5 answered that they consult with

“Relatives” (the same answer was only at 21.7 % in Group 1).

In addition to social relationships within each community, the survey asked if

households are interested in any particular activities to enhance the local economy and living environment. The possible answers provided in the questionnaire were “Enhancing local market”, “Promoting tourism”, “Utilize abandoned



Sustainability Field Exercises in Rural Areas …



169



Village total



Neighbors



Group 1



Relatives

Group 2



Outmigrated

children

Town

hall



Group 3



Care

worker

None



Group 4



Others

Group 5

0



10



20



30



40



50



60



70



80



90



100



Percent of respondents



Fig. 10  Person to consult with when having concerns at household



Village total



Enhancing local

market



Group1



Promoting tourism

Group2



Utilize abandoned

farmlands

Revitalizing local

festivals



Group3



Creating a gathering

place

Group4



None

Others



Group5

0



10



20



30



40



50



60



70



Percent of respondents



Fig. 11  New activities that households are interested



80



90



100



170



S. Kudo



farmlands”, “Revitalizing local festivals”, “Creating a gathering place”, “None”,

and “Others”. To this question, 25–40 % of the households expressed their interests in “Enhancing local market” (Fig. 11). The second largest response was

“Creating a gathering place”, in which 20–30 % of villagers were interested. The

idea of creating a gathering place aims to increase the interactions among residents

beyond individual community boundaries. About 10–18 % of households in Group

1–4 are interested in “Promoting tourism” and “Utilizing abandoned farmlands”,

while the equivalent responses in Group 5 were 30.4 % and 26.1 %, respectively.

Additionally, while many households expressed their interests in new activities,

32.9 % of households in the village answered “None”, which implies that there are

a significant number of residents who prefer not to start any new activities.



5 Concluding Discussions

5.1 Evidence of the Community Marginalization in

Kamikoani

The case study presented in this chapter investigated the current living conditions

of households by asking questions regarding five categories across the five different community groups. The results suggest several differences, especially between

Groups 1–4 and Group 5, which can be summarized by the following three points.

Firstly, the findings about the access to groceries illustrate a higher rate of dependency on outside help by Group 5 households, compared to other community

groups. Although the main means of transportation in Group 5 is still a car driven

by a household member, a higher rate of household is dependent on mobile grocery stores for purchasing daily items than in other Groups. In terms of the frequency of access to groceries, residents in Group 5 do shopping two to three times

per month, while the majority of households in the other four community groups

do shopping two to three times per week. Although the findings are limited to

transportation and access to daily items, it can be assumed that other issues related

to residents’ mobility are likely to be present in Group 5, such as the access to care

services, medical services, and other public facilities.

Secondly, Group 5 households show unique characteristics in their farming

operations, with more than half of those engaged in farming doing so for selfconsumption, which does not generate any income. Although around 30–35 % of

households in Group 1–4 are also engaged in farming for self-consumption, there

are around 7–25 % of part-time farming households in these community groups.

In Group 5, there is no part-time farming household. This finding implies a situation that is particular to Group 5, where farming itself is still well-maintained

despite its much smaller size.

Thirdly, regarding the “Economic status” of households, the proportion of

households who are not satisfied with their current income levels appeared higher



Sustainability Field Exercises in Rural Areas …



171



in Group 5. Especially, there was no household who responded that they have

“Sufficient” income, while about 10 % of households in other community groups

are satisfied with their current income levels. Instead, more than 40 % of households in Group 5 feel that the current income level is “Insufficient”.

While the current condition of Group 5 was well depicted, differences between

the other four community groups could not be so well identified in the present

study. This point suggests that a community can maintain its community-functions

well until its population size becomes smaller than 40 residents, at least for the

case of Kamikoani. Given the clear evidence of community marginalization in

Group 5, the size of Group 4, which is 50–60 residents, can be proposed as the

pre-stage of Group 5. However, further empirical studies are required to determine

the detailed difference between this pre-stage and the marginalized state of a rural

community.



5.2 The Current State of Community Groups in the

Community Marginalization Framework

The results of present case study showed that the residents of Group 5 are experiencing more difficulties with their living conditions than the other four community groups. Hence, the current state of Group 5 is considered to be in a later

stage within the community marginalization framework than the other four community groups. However, at the same time, the Group 5 community is not fully

marginalized, as there are various supports provided from outside of communities

to maintain the living conditions of residents. Thus, the current condition of Group

5 could be situated right at the end of the second stage of the marginalization process (Fig. 12).

The differences between Group 1 to 3 could not be well identified by this

study; instead, their similarities were identified. In these groups, residents

expressed greater concerns regarding the shortage of manpower to keep their local

events rather than the maintenance of properties. The main means of transportation (car) could still be undertaken by individual households and the access to grocery shopping was more frequent. Based on these findings, and given the fact that

they have been experiencing continuous depopulation, these community groups

are assumed to be in the middle of the first turning point (Fig. 12). Regarding

Group 4, the study predicts that its state can be seen as a pre-state of Group 5,

and therefore Group 4 is situated in the middle of the second stage. As the framework shows, the degree of community-functions at this point is still high, as per

Groups 1–3. Community-function decline is more difficult to observe at this stage,

yet it would be important to highlight that community marginalization could be

progressing in communities which are the size of Group 4. As the framework suggests, the degree of community-functions would start to decline gradually during

the second stage of the community marginalization. From the perspective of the



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